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claims they only targeted ammunition dumps. ben wedeman was there when the bombs fell. >> reporter: outside of brega where this battle is happening, we watched this libyan air force plane flew overhead. i can tell you exactly what the target was, it was us. it was us and the people all around us, which i would say about 250 individuals, most of them volunteer fighters getting ready to move ahead forward into brega to engage the libyan forces. so i guess, yeah, we were the target, nothing else. >> that's the massive hole of the explosion you just saw left behind. here at the hospital in brega are some of the casualties. these are wounded libyans who gadhafi claims are either al qaeda or drugged kids. tonight, keeping them honest, we'll talk live to a libyan government spokesman in tripoli and have him to explain these images we're seeing and explain his leader's statements against the facts. we'll also talk to a man in tunisia who says his brother was murdered in tripoli on sunday. >> they beat him until he dead. they beat him on the back of his head, okay? that's because they don't
attack. our own ben wedeman was with them. >> reporter: we are outside the town of brega where this ongoing battle is happening. we watched this libyan air force plane flew overhead. i can tell you exactly what the target was, it was us. it was us and the people all around us, which was i would say about 250 individuals, most of them volunteer fighters getting ready to move ahead forward into brega to engage the libyan forces. so i guess, yeah, we were the target, nothing else. >> again, some of the people armed and belong to anti-government forces. the government claims they are al qaeda operatives and targeting ammunition dumps. ben wedeman says there may have been hard core islamists, but the vast majority are libyan civilians. we'll hear from a libyan doctor who has seen dozens of dead and wounded and says they are just young people who want freedom. first, i want to get the latest from nic robertson in tripoli and marie culvan from the london times. nic, a few hours from now in tripoli is going to be friday prayers. last friday we saw what happened. people were called to c
government forces dropped a bomb that landed on a crowd of people there earlier today. our own ben wedeman has since retreated to the relative calm of benghazi. but, ben, do me a favor and take me back to el brega. what did you see? what did you hear? and how close were you when the bomb went off? >> reporter: we were uncomfortably close to that bomb. we were on a road just outside of brega with a large group of opposition fighters and also some other journalists. we heard a fair amount of gunfire, a plane was flying overhead. it dropped a bomb just outside of brega and then came back and flew right over our heads and dropped another bomb, which fell just by the side of the road. fortunately, there was no casualties as a result of that, but obviously that sort of sent panic through the entire crowd, people just jumping into cars and driving away. now, later we got very close to brega itself. we went to the hospital there where we saw that the wounded from this battle that had been going from the early morning throughout the day were coming in, there were already four dead bodies in the mor
in libya. gadhafi's son promising to crush the opposition. ben wedeman says that opposition is falling apart as they retreated from the town of ras lanuf. we'll have a report on that and nic robertson attacked by gadhafi thugs. we'll talk to him, as well. ♪ [ male announcer ] every day thousands of parents are choosing children's advil. here's one story. my name is michelle. when my kids feel sick, i feel sick. i've been taking advil for myself, so i said if it's that fabulous for me, it should be just as wonderful for my children. i was so certain that i had made the right decision when i switched over to children's advil. when they come to me and i make them feel better with advil, i'm supermom. [ male announcer ] children's advil. relief you can trust. should i bundle all my policies with nationwide insurance ? watch this. on one hand, you have your home insurance with one company. and on another hand, you have your auto with another. and on another hand, you have your life with another. huh... but when you bundle them all together with nationwide insurance... ... they all work to
is an unequal fight and uneasy stalemate. ben wedeman, cnn, al brega, libya. >>> the uprising began in the city of benghazi, quickly taking hold in the eastern portion of the country. in the past week, it's been moving further west but the situation is changing all the time. we're joined now by ben wedeman in eastern libya and joining us now. ben, moammar gadhafi just talked to turkish tv. and in the interview, he said that libya would rise up and take up arms against any western powers trying to impose a no-fly zone. he just seems to get more defiant, more belligerent, and not backing down. >> reporter: well, what he's doing is he's playing the card that is often played by middle eastern rulers in which they try to raise the specter of foreign intervention, foreign occupation, foreign interference. it may not work in this case because certainly what we're hearing almost from everybody we speak to in the eastern part of the country that they do desperately need a no-fly zone because at the moment they're very exposed to those planes. they're also at the same time, they tell you that they don't
of ras lanuf. we've got breaking news coming from libya now. let's go to ben wedeman following developments in ras lanuf. ben, what's happening. >> reporter: just about half an hour ago, there was an air raid to the southeast of ras lanuf. we saw the bomb hit on the horizon. the it's not clear what was the target. there's still planes flying in the area. we've been watching them. we also were able to go up -- outside of where there have been intense battles for the last day and a half or so. the opposition took over the town and then we're driven out again. and in fact, actually to see what appeared to be libyan armed forces on the outside of that town on the eastern end. so it appears that the offensive by the anti-gadhafi forces has ground to a halt. we've been watching as families have been leaving ras lanuf driving to get away from the situation here, which is now looking a bit tenuous. >> ben, ras lanuf is home to one of libya's biggest oil refineries. is there any indication that all facilities are being targeted at all by air strikes or fighting on the ground there? >> r
the opposition. ben wedeman says that opposition is falling apart as they retreated from the town of ras lanuf. we'll have a report on that and nic robertson attacked by gadhafi thugs. we'll talk to him, as well. we created the electricity that powered the alarm clocks and brewed the coffee. we heated the bathwater and gave kelly a cleaner ride to school. cooked the cube steaks and steamed the veggies. entertained dad, and mom, and a neighbor or two. kept watch on the house when they slept. and tomorrow we could do even more. we're cleaner, domestic, abundant and ready now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power today. learn more at anga.us. but now, to get it really cooking, you need a little website development. some transparent reporting, so you know it's working. online ads and 1-on-1 marketing consultation. yellowbook's got all that. yellowbook360 has a whole spectrum of tools. the perfect recipe for success. visit yellowbook360.com and go beyond yellow. >>> the devastation in japan is certain to take some of the world's attention off the fighting going on in libya. this program,
straight to benghazi in libya right now. that's where cnn senior international correspondent ben wedeman is standing by. ben, you were there in the town of al brega today where you and your crewnarrowly, narrowly got out alive. what happened? >> well, we were covering basically this big battle that was going on in brega in the early morning hours. we were told dozens of toyota pickup trucks full of troops and heavy weaponry entered the town, essentially took over a large part of it, and, of course, that sparked a battle where forces opposed to moammar gadhafi converged on that area and prepared for a counterattack. we were with one of those groups on the main road when we saw a libyan air force jet flying over brega, dropping one bomb near the town and then coming back, flying very low over where we were next to these fighters, and he dropped another bomb which just landed very near to where we were standing. in this case nobody was hit, but this was an obvious target for the air force looking in the area trying to stop any counterattack. later in the day, after -- after anti-gadhafi for
will take you there live. we'll speak with senior international correspondent ben wedeman, next. but we've actually done it. [ male announcer ] visit ameriprise.com and put a confident retirement more within reach. matter which position i am in i wake up feeling good. it fits you so perfectly... it fits you. you wake up and you're revived and rejuvenated. it's just like wow! tempur-pedic the most highly recommended bed in america. tempur-pedic is rated #1 in comfort. sleep satisfaction. and back support. it fits the curvature of your body but you don't sink in and it is firm. proprietary tempur material suppresses motion transfer. this means that when you get in or out of bed, you won't disturb your partner. that's amazing. that's amazing. tempur-pedic, the most highly recommended bed in america. call the number on p. >>> want to talk about libya because moammar gadhafi's forces are grabbing key oil towns. opposition forces are on the defense and struggling to keep their movement together. i want to go to ben wedeman in eastern libya. ben, when you and i talked specifically about the to
're short on training. why the civil war may not be an equal fight. ben wedeman is inside libya with pa behind the scenes look at the opposition. who are these men and women? >>> and conservative activists set up a string operation and get what they wanted, an npr executive caught on tape making some very controversial comments. breaking news, political headlines and jeanne moos all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's begin with the breaking news right now. more mysterious behavior from libya's moammar gadhafi. he's facing new pressure to leave his country, and it seemed for quite a while today the gadhafi himself would answer questions about his future. but after showing up at a hotel where hundreds of jushlists gathered, he snuck out of a side door, leaving the journalists bewilder bewildered. the u.s. government tries to figure out who are the libyan rebels and who they may want to talk with. ben wedeman is inside libya. he's been talking with opposition forces over the past week. he reports from al-brega. half way between benghazi to the west. he
to frighten their own people, not bombing, by the way. ben wedeman and their crew were there. >> reporter: outside the town where this ongoing battle is happening. we watched this libyan air force plane flew overhead. i can tell you exactly what the target was. it was us. it was us and the people all around us, which was, i would say, about 250 individuals, most of them volunteer fighters getting ready to move ahead forward to engage the libyan forces. so i guess, yeah, we were the target. nothing else. >> in their public statements the gadhafi regime has built itself no credibility during this crisis. gadhafi is repeatedly pla lly bl qaeda. hours after we asked question about what the drugs were, and they couldn't answer those questions, they suddenly announce a big drug bust. ha drugs taken from an al qaeda network, they say, except painkillers. again, this happened just after we grilled gadhafi spokesman, just after he told us the regime really didn't consider the whole drug theory all that central to how they explained the uprising. they said that we were being sensationalistic. cherr
the top that we're getting a report from our ben wedeman in the region that libyan forces are now in control of a town of benjui. people are fleeing the northern town of ras lanuf after pro-government forces attacked from the air. opposition forces fired anti-aircraft guns at the enemy planes. that attack comes amid growing concern over the humanitarian crisis in libya right now. ras lanuf has a key oil facility as we've been telling you. the united nations has appointed a special envoy. it wants the government to stop what it calls a disproportionate use of force against citizens. now, this follows a weekend of deadly clashes between rebels and pro-gadhafi forces. it was in misrata that some of the heaviest fighting took place. these are pictures from right after the battle there. troops loyal to moammar gadhafi stormed the city with tanks and artillery. but the opposition stood its ground. the defenders armed with anything from sticks to machine guns. the rebels claimed victory. but there were people killed on both sides. in fact, a doctor in misrata's central hospital says 42 p
with a strong advantage. our ben wedeman was there. we'll talk to him shortly. opposition fighters, many civilians, all inexperienced, now in retreat after days of pounding from the air. time running out. and back in tripoli, where those who once protested now hide in their homes, saif gadhafi was telling abc news that opponents would be shown no mercy. just squash them, he was asked? yes, he replied. listen. >> translator: i receive hundreds of calls from the east daily, and they are stating "save us." they are begging us and pleading for us to save them, and my answer is two words -- listen to me, i want those armed groups to listen to me real well, and i want the people in the east to hear this, as well. we are coming. >> white house spokesman jay carney said the administration has already taken and i quote, swift and dramatic actions, and it has when it comes to freezing libyan assets. as to doing what they need urgently, namely a no-fly zone, nato is reviewing options. >> firstly, there must be a -- a -- a demonstratable need. secondly, there must be a clear legal basis. and thirdly
. cnn's ben wedeman is in eastern libya in braga. they have heard the reports but cannot confirm that moammar gadhafi is using his air force to bomb his own civilians. you got a close look at that today, did you not? >> reporter: yes, we did. we were on the road braga with forces would were preparing a counterattack which was the site of forces and the libyan army and watched as a jet dropped a bomb on the edge of town then came back and flew right over our heads and dropped a bomb just about 100 feet from where we were standing. and then later in the afternoon after brega had been retaken by the anti-gadhafi forces we were with another group of people including fighters and residents of the town who were celebrating the expulsion of the libyan army from brega when an air force jet dropped a bomb just at the edge of the crowd. we do believe there were casualties. we sort of rushed out of the area when this happened, but we did see men coming in the other direction carrying stretchers, so we saw with our own eyes several instances of libyan planes bombing libyan territories so i t
wedeman is joining us now embedded with rebel forces in eastern libya. ben, let me get your quick reaction. musa kusa, someone familiar to a lot of us who have covered libya over the years, if in fact he's now split with gadhafi. how significant would that be? >> reporter: well, it does represent a fairly significant blow to moammar gadhafi. this was a senior official, and even though shortly after the outbreak of the revolt in libya, there was a string of resignations of ambassadors, for instance, for the libyan ambassadors around the world. the justice minister has defected, so two of the anti-gadhafi forces, so certainly the foreign minister defecting is significant. is it critical? i don't think so because clearly -- he has a very small circle around him, upon his sons, each of which has a military unit, so it's a blow, but i don't think it's a critical blow to moammar gadhafi. >> and at the same tame as we take a look at all of this, ben, the rebels, and you're embedded with rebel forces, they seem to be clearly on the defense right now. they have lost a lot of ground over the past 48
. a live report from our own ben wedeman in eastern libya, and the escalating crisis triggering new pain at the gas pumps here in the united states. is it time to tap into the emergency oil reserve? stick around. you're in "the situation room." ♪ [ male announcer ] unrestrained. unexpected. and unlike any hybrid you have ever known. ♪ introducing the most fuel-efficient luxury car available. ♪ the radically new... 42 mile per gallon ct hybrid from lexus. ♪ welcome to the darker side of green. [ male announcer ] there's just something about werther's caramel that makes a chocolate so smooth and creamy, you don't just taste it, you feel it. ♪ magic [ male announcer ] werther's original caramel chocolate. what comfort tastes like. [ male announcer ] werther's original caramel chocolate. ♪ i was diagnosed with copd. i could not take a deep breath i noticed i was having trouble. climbing the stairs, working in the garden, painting. my doctor suggested spiriva right then. announcer: spiriva is the only once-daily inhaled maintenance treatment for copd, which includes chronic bronch
very much. appreciate that. i want to go to ben wedeman. he's just left the area where you have news of a possible bomb or explosion. what you can tell us? >> reporter: it wasn't a possible bomb or explosion. it was a bomb that fell about i'd say 100 feet from where we are. that is the second bomb to fall today. the second bomb fell when we were just outside of b represent aga which appears to be under control of anti-gadhafi forces after a day long battle between libyan army soldiers and essentially militia of the opposition. they were deadly bringing in more wounded. at least four dead, 23 wounded. and of course that's only one hospital in the area. other wounded are being taken further up the road. but clearly moammar gadhafi is not sitting tight he's trying to get control. >> to you believe that gadhafi was targeting citizens? >> reporter: i think they were targeting a large group of people. in both cases today we were among well over 100 people from the area, some armed, some not. but clearly the air force saw this as a target and therefore dropped those bombs. >> and the people
wedeman is with rebel fighters. ben, we're hearing you're at a site where the rebels say a libyan plane was shot down. what's the story? >> reporter: we're south rest of ras lanuf and among the debris, an old russian jet that crashed here in the desert. now the rebels say they shot it down with their anti-aircraft guns but we really have no way of being certain about that. what we found were -- we found the bodies of the two pilots minus their heads, by the way, but this is really the first instance, tom, where the anti-gadhafi forces were able possibly, and i stress possibly, to shoot down one of the jets which have been really pounding the rebel forces as they've been trying to advance from the eastern part of the country in the direction of tripoli. tom? >> ben, when you talk about planes being shot down and the rebel forces being able to do such a thing, it does from a distance start looking more like a civil war. we're hearing a lot of that kind of talk. what are leaders on the opposition side telling their fighters about this? >> basically they're stressing this is a fight not amo
jawad and ras lanuf and al brega about to fall into the regime's hands if it hasn't already. ben wedeman, if you look at the course of the battlefield you would have to score those 48 hours decidedly in moammar gadhafi's advantage. >> reporter: no doubt about it. we were out on the edge of -- [ technical difficulties ] >> as you can see our audio connection having a little problem. we'll re-establish that and make a stronger signal but as we watch the battlefield play out gadhafi forces gaining in recent days. back to ben as soon as we can. the regime is headquartered in tripoli and the dictator no doubt pleased with the sweep of his forces but a disappointing news that his longtime senior aid, foreign minister is in london and says he is defecting. nic robertson, this is a huge deal, first big member of the inner circle to bolt. >> reporter: well, what's really interesting, john, there isn't even a response yet from officials here. they can't even themselves confirm that the foreign minister has, in fact, left the country and arrived in britain. they're telling us as soon as they can co
the opposition forces fighting there? let's check in live now with ben wedeman who is out watching the action. ben, you see those rocket strikes, but from your time out there watching it firsthand, the opposition has been in dramatic retreat the past few days. any sense they have regrouped and now have a coherent strategy? >> reporter: no, they don't have a strategy. and that's what's painfully obvious out at the front lines. they continue to do the same thing. push forward on the main road and quickly become exposed to the artillery and the mortar fire of those loyal to moammar gadhafi. those forces, on the other hand, are showing a real flexibility. before the no-fly zone was in effect, they were heavily dependent on armored tanks, armored personnel carriers. now they tend to be shifting to gorilla tactics. they're driving around snichbl c in civilian cars, they're operating in very small groups and units out in the desert. much more difficult for coalition aircraft to even spot them, because it's very difficult at this point to tell who's a rebel and who's loyal to moammar gadhafi. so the
people? >> dropping bombs just to frighten their own people, not bombing by the way. cnn's ben wedeman, however, and their crew were there. >> reporter: we're outside the up to of brega where this ongoing battle is happening. we watched this libyan air force plane flew overhead. i can tell you exactly what the target was, it was us. it was us and the people all around us, which was i would say about 250 individuals, most of them volunteer fighters getting ready to move ahead forward into brega to engauge the libyan forces. so we were the target, nothing else. >> the gadhafi regime has built itself no credibility during this crisis. the gadhafis repeatedly blaming al qaeda and hallucinogenic drugs. then hours after we asked what those hallucinogenic drugs were and they couldn't answer those questions, they announced a big drug bust, drugs taken from an al qaeda network, they claim. except they were hospital painkillers, and they make you drowsy and constipated, not blood thirsty. this happened after a spokesman told us the regime didn't consider the whole hallucinogenic drug theory all
against the other. john? >> ben wedeman for us in eastern libya, so we'll wait to see what the international community does next. ben, thanks. in addition to the violence and the political uncertainty, there is now talk of a humanetarian crisis as thousands of libyans flee as well as thousands of foreign workers who had jobs in libya, but are now rushing across the border to escape the violence. ivan watson is look the tunis / tunisia/libyan border. ivan w ivan, tell us what you're hearing from people coming out? >> reporter: they're streaming out more every day, between 10,000 and 13,000 a day, close to 60,000 just over the course of the last week. and most of these people are not libyans, they're some of the foreign nationals, the armies of foreigners who have worked in libya, which is an oil and gas-producing country, much richer than many of its neighbors. they have estimated more than 1 million egyptians. and the problem is, they get here to tunisia, they're being well-cared for by the tunisia military, by tunisia civil society, who are feeding them, but they have sim
international correspondent ben wedeman is. ben, what kind of shape is the opposition in right now? >> reporter: it's as usual, in disarray, eliot. we saw this evening they're trying to regroup on the edges, theout skirts of ajdabiya to try to launch some sort of counterattack but it's the same thing we've seen over and over again, lots of enthusiasm, lots of brandishing of weapons and vows to go all the way to tripoli but it seems that despite all the talk, they're going in the opposite direction. what we know is that today there was an ambush by gadhafi forces of the rebels just outside of brega apparently by a fairly small number of libyan army troops, but that was enough to send the rebels running in panic back to ajdabiya. they're still suffering from this basic lack of training, of discipline, of any basic idea of battlefield tactics. eliot. >> you know, ben, in the context of what we're seeing, is there any sense there is an effort to impose any command structure on what remains of the opposition forces? obviously they see they're going in the wrong direction. is anybody in the transitio
whether to impose a no-fly zone. let's check in with ben wedeman in eastern libya and we're hearing about fighting in ras lanuf. >> reporter: what we saw, john, was a massive artillery and rocket barrage from the libyan forces on to the opposition. it went on for about an hour and a half. it was including air strikes, artillery barrages, rocks and other weapons and, of course, what happened was. we're not sure what hit it but an oil storage tank caught on fire. that seemed to spread through the entire refinery area causing this huge plume of black smoke to go into the sky, one of the tanks after another exploded. you saw these huge balls of flames going up and that was really just part of the battle that was going on between ras lanuf and ben jawad, a town that the libyan forces does hold. it does appear the rebels in ras lanuf are under extreme pressure from the government, what we're seeing is that their shortcomings in terms of organization and in terms of military experience, in terms of command and control are becoming blaringly apparent. we have seen they're sending more and more re
to report the story. neither nic robertson, ben wedeman and arwa damon. arwa is in benghazi. ben wedeman is in brega. and nic is in tripoli tonight. nic, you were on your way to report from zawia today when you were actually turned around by government officials. you had made it there a couple days ago to the outskirts to the libyan -- on the libyan government side. i just want to remind our viewers some of what you saw over there. >> reporter: that's the sound of heavy machine gunfire. the shots there -- just ducking for cover. we're okay behind this wall. right now we're just taking cover behind this wall. >> that was on the libyan government's side. they said they were in control of zawia. as you saw, there was still a battle raging. do we know the situation right now in that city? because alex crawford left on sunday. >> reporter: we really don't have the latest information. it's been almost impossible to get any clear details out of there. it is surrounded. there is -- the electricity we understand has been cut off. cell phone service has been cut off. so without getting somebody co
much, chris lawrence, for that. the report from the front lines. ben wedeman spent the day with the rebels battered by gadhafi's rockets and machine guns. can the will power make up for ha lack of weapons and train sng and a long time libyan insider quits, flies off to britain. what's behind the mysterious defection of the foreign minister ask me. if you think even the best bed can only lie there... ask me what it's like... when my tempur-pedic moves... ...talk to someone who owns an adjustable version of the most highly recommended bed in america... ask me about my tempur advanced ergo. ask me about having all the right moves. these are real tempur-advanced ergo owners! find one for yourself. check out twitter. try your friends on facebook... see what they have to say...unedited. it goes up... ask me what it's like to get a massage ---any time you want. ...it goes down... ergo...nomics... ergo...nomics... tempur-pedic brand owners are more satisfied than owners of any traditional mattress brand. (in chinese) ask me why i never want to leave my ergo. ask me why i'm glad i d
in the process. ben wedeman has more. >> debris strewn across the desert floor, the remains of a soviet-made soyu 24. the two pilots killed in the crash. anti-gahdafi rebels claim they downed the plane. no one here dispuce it. we shot down one of your planes, you dogs, sings this volunteer fighter. >> the only thing right now is it one jet fighter, and it was hovering around and we bring it down. we saw big smoke coming from the desert. >> reporter: it went down near an oil refinery town, since late friday it's been under the control of opposition forces. the first major victory for the rag-tag rebel force in eastern libya. the fighters are now regrouping, preparing to push even further westward toward the central city of sirit, hometown of moammar gahdafi. his army left roslanouf in a hurry. leaving behind ammunition tanks, and mortar. this is the office of the deputy commander here at the libyan army base here. as you can see, rebels came in, ransacked the place, but what's interesting, that the last person to leave forgot to turn out the lights. flush with success, the fighters are getting coc
, and dignity must be met. >> our senior international correspondent, ben wedeman, is joining us now from eastern libya, and our white house correspondent, dan lothian, is joining us from the white house. the president says all military options, dan, are on the table right now, including the creation of a no-fly zone. but they're not being specific. why? >> reporter: no specifics at all right now, because they want to see what happens on the ground, wolf. i did talk to an administration official and i was asking as to whether or not this no-fly zone was getting a warmer option for the administration. and this official telling me that they really want to see if the situation deteriorates on the ground. you heard the president saying that he doesn't want to be hamstrung. they want to be able to react if the situation escalates pretty soon. >> ben, you're there with the rebels. you're in constant contact with them. are they more interested in getting a no-fly zone created, or getting weapons, arms, from the international community right now? >> reporter: really, their focus, wolf, is on the
begin with ben wedeman journeying out to the crash site and saw the wreckage of the jet fighter and the headless bodies of the two crew men. >> reporter: anti-gadhafi fighters say they took down, shot down a libyan air force plane about eight kilometers southeast of ras lanuf. that town recently liberated from libyan army forces. we saw that over about a kilometer debris from a fighter bomber. that's an old soviet era jet. it was strewn for about a kilometer over the desert. we also found the two bodies of the pilots there, headless. some of the people in the area were claiming that one of the pilots was syrian. we didn't find any evidence of that. now, the forces in the area claimed they shot it down with an anti-aircraft gun but there's no evidence on the scene to explain how the plane came down. whether it was shot down or simply crashed. but it could be a significant development because the achilles heel of the anti-gadhafi forces trying to advance westward has been libyan air force jets and helicopters flying over the area. in fact, we did see one of the helicopters firing
back and held it. ben wedeman was in al brega as the fighting raged. >> reporter: first, the sound of a plane then a bomb explodes. >> they were attacking brega and his people with the plane. >> reporter: the target was these men, a collection of soldiers who have gone over to the opposition and volunteer fighters, gathering to launch a counterattack against government forces which early wednesday overran the town of al brega, site of one of libya's largest oil refinery. >> give up, moammar gadhafi. stop. okay. over. >> reporter: strategizing is done on the run. in addition to role of the skies, the enemy has far more fire power. our message to is world is we want a no-fly zone says this general. they're bombing us with their planes. libyan revolt is looking different from those that came before. in egypt and tunisia, it was a fight between unarmed protesters and the regimes. here in libya, it is becoming what looks like a civil war. >> ben wedeman reporting there. we'll return to the drama playing out in libya. >>> still ahead, a look at how colonel gadhafi's government has invest
leadership is in chaos. let's start with cnn's international correspondent, ben wedeman, who is in rebel-held city benghazi. the former libyan interior minister says the noose is tightening around gadhafi's neck. tell us where have you gone and what have you seen? >> we headed sort of in the direction of tripoli. what we've seen is that the noose isn't necessarily tightening around gadhafi's neck. it's clear the opposition is in firm control of this part of the country, but if you look to the west, it's not at all clear the situation. you have towns like misrata and zawiya where the rebels are in control of the center. but they're surrounded by gadhafi's forces. there's still nervousness about the possibility that they could counter attack. yesterday we saw an air raid on ammunitions dump on the road to tripoli. to the shelter here. today we were at a check point where there's a lot of nervousness because it is right nec to a major oil facility where the workers tell us they're very worried about an air raid or sabotaged attacks on the place where they not only produce gasoline, there's
. >>> right now, as ben wedeman reports, rebels in ras lanuf are also claiming a major hit against gadhafi's air force. >> reporter: anti-gadhafi fighters say they took down, shot down, a libyan air force plane about eight kilometers southeast of ras lanuf, that town recently liberated from libyan army forces. we went to the site. we saw that over about a kilometer there was debris from a fighter bomber, that's an old soviet era jet. it was restaurant fstrewn for a ter over the desert. two bodies found headless. claiming one of the pilots was syrian but we didn't find evidence of that. the forces in area claim they shot it down with an anti-aircraft gun, but there's no evidence on the scene to explain how the plane came down, whether it was shot down or simply crashed. but it could be a significant development because the achille's heel of the anti-gadhafi forces were trying to advance westward, has been libyan air force jets and helicopters flying over the area. in fact, we did see one of those helicopters firing on opposition positions just to the west of ras lanuf. in ras lanuf, itself,
bombed by libyan forces this week. our senior international correspondent ben wedeman and his crew were there when the bombs dropped. >> reporter: first the roar of the plane, then a bomb explodes just beside the road. >> gadhafi army are attacking his people with his planes. >> reporter: the target was these men, a collection of soldiers who have gone over to the opposition and volunteer fighters gathering to launch a counter attack against government forces which early wednesday overran the town of el braga, site of one of libya's largest oil refineries. >> stop, okay, good-bye. >> reporter: strategizing is done on the run. in addition to control of the skies, the enemy has far more fire power. >> translator: our message to the world is that we want a no-fly zone. >> says this general. "they're bombing us with their planes." the libyan revolt is beginning to look dramatically different from those that came before. in egypt and tunisia it was a fight between unarmed protesters and the regimes. here in libya it is becoming what looks like a civil war. further to the rear outside the tow
international correspondent ben wedeman held again by the opposition. what are you hearing about these attacks? oh. >> they occurred this morning really the focus was on the town of el-brega which is a very important natural gas and petroleum exports facility. i just got off of the phone with a resident in a town that tables me after a bit of a fight between residents and the forces normal to muammar gadhafi that the opposition forces have been trying to re-establish control of al-brega. there's soldiers loyal to muammar gadhafi in the town. but they are more or less surrounded. they told me there have been fatalities in this fight. but in this point to recap, he said the first is of the opposition, have re-established control over al-brega. we did hear reports of air raids on a a place where there's a major ammunitions dump the target of previous air raids by the libyan airports. >> how well are the rebels organized? >> not -- not at all, really. we were in -- we were at the brega check point yesterday. and just a handful of men with ak-47 automatic rifles, but there's little in the way of he
and david kirkpatrick and in again, cnn's ben wedeman. nic, this thing where gadhafi arrived and his spokesman warned nbc's richard engle that they would be shot instantly. what was that about? >> reporter: there was so much confusion before gadhafi came and the government officials, mr. ibrahim among them, were trying to figure out where the journalists could go. he didn't know that gadhafi was coming. this is the man that is in charge of the journalists in the hotel here. he was trying to figure out where we could go and stand and he was trying to negotiate that with gadhafi's security forces. he seemed to be diligently trying to do that. yet at the same time he issued a very flat and straight out warning to everyone, that if you get on the roof, then gadhafi's security forces are going to see that as a threat. so don't do it. he's been faced with journalists trying to get every angle of the story. why? because his office hasn't been able to get us to places like zawia. so this seemed to be -- seemed to be a warning, but not so much a threat. it was just don't be stupid, don't put
, this quote, this is from cnn's ben wedeman. he said this is becoming a war. i want you to hold that thought because it has potentially huge implications. a short time ago the president said is he keeping all of his options open and he spoke of using the military to rescue all those thousands of fleeing civilians. >> i have, therefore, approved the use of u.s. military aircraft to help move egyptians who have fled to the tune nishian border to get back home to egypt. i've authorized u.s. a.i.d. to charter additional civilian aircraft to help people from other countries find their way home. >> we'll get back to the president in a moment. but first, this becoming a war? that is the question today. want you to have a look. tell me what you think. >> hey! [ explosions ] >> you hear the popping, gunfire. this footage was shot just yesterday near the libyan oil-rich city of brega if that name sounds familiar, it should because it was just about this time yesterday when we showed you this dramatic footage that was shot just outside of brega but our cnn team. do you remember that? that was the video
the capital here. we're talking tens of miles away. ben wedeman also talking to a story there which was rebel fighters who seemed to be -- being pushed back slightly by the government's forces now, but, nic, i know you spend time in both of those areas. what did you see when you were there? >> well, we were -- when we were in zawiya yesterday, we were -- a security gentleman is telling knee move to the side here a little bit. this is the way we're often dealt with by officials. they tend to move us around a little bit. when we were on the outskirts of zawiya yesterday we were able to hear heavy detonation, small arms weapons fire going on and that was -- that was what we were able to see and hear nerd when we were outside zawiya and we were very close, about a mile away from where the rebels were. what we've heard from a source who left today, reports again tanks in the city that have been killing civilians he said today. he also said the two medical centers, let me move down other a little bit, the two medical centers in the city had been closed down and that the army was taking out its woun
to go to ben wedeman from eastern libya. ben, i know you were at ras lanuf earlier today. the military now claiming ras lanuf is under their control. talk to me about what you saw. what's the latest you saw in ras lanuf? >> the last thing we saw in ras lanuf was that the opposition forces were pulling back, many of them were retreating from the city after a prolonged and intense bombardment from the sea, from the air and from artillery on the ground. that those incoming rounds hit very close to one of the hospitals, it hit a mosque apparently killing one person inside. the fighters were telling us it was just too intense for them to stay there. so they pulled out. basically to a checkpoint about five miles to the east of the city. we did see reinforcements coming in. but clearly, they're outgunned. clearly they simply cannot withstand this assault by forces far superior to them. so at this point, it's not clear who actually controls ras lanuf. we know that the government forces were advancing on it, but there were still opposition fighters inside the town trying to defend it. brooke? >
to take you straight to cnn's ben wedeman. he joins us on the phone where he just witnessed a helicopter attack on rebel forces. ben, can you tell us what you saw? >> reporter: yeah, we saw this helicopter, an old soviet helicopter hovering above the road to tripoli about seven miles to the west of ras lanuf. opened fire with the rockets. huge explosion, huge bang. not clear what they hit. but we did see an ambulance -- two ambulances rushing toward the scene. so we can presume there were some sort of casualties. that's not the first air raid of the day. we saw another libyan jet dropping a bomb somewhere in the town of ras lanuf. also earlier in the morning over the city. the city does -- despite these air attacks seem to be under the complete control of the rebel forces who gained control of the city overnight affate affair af fairly intense battles. now the rebel forces are only about 100 miles -- 110 miles from the town which is fortified by forces that are loyal to moammar gadhafi, the birthplace of the libyan leader. >> and how if at all possible can these rebels protect themselves
. apparently a huge setback for opposition forces to gadhafi. cnn's ben wedeman is on the phone for us from eastern libya. ben, update the viewers. >> yes, it's just after 1:00 a.m. in the morning. it afears to be a massive retreat going on by the rebel forces from their positions around ras lanuf. an hour ago people rr banging on the doors in the house we were staying in in brega saying the libyan army is on the way. the gadhafi forces are advancing eastward, and what i'm seeing now i'm at the main point and seeing car after car and pickup after pickup of anti-gadhafi fighters heading eastward. heading away from the front line where we saw in ras lanuf there was an intense bombardment by libyan armed forces on their positions. they've clearly been outgunned. they don't have the fire power to match it. now they are streaming away as far as they can from those apparently advancing libyan forces. wolf? >> a lot of u.s. officials have suggested to me their fear that with much of the world now focused in on this earthquake and tsunami in japan, ben, gadhafi is simply going to unleash his milita
unfolding in libya. ben wedeman is joining us from benghazi. i understand you witnessed several bombings in al brega? >> reporter: yes. we witnessed three separate bombing runs by libyan air force jets, one of them seemed to be dropping a bomb in the area of brega itself. the first one was by the side of the road where we were. we were with a group of fighters in the anti-gadhafi camp who were preparing to launch counterattacks into the town of gr brega. apparently the jet saw this large group of people, zoomed right above us, and dropped a bomb that fell by the side of the road just about 40 feet from where i was standing. in this case, fortunately, nobody was hurt and there was no damage. later in the afternoon we were outside of brega where a group of local residents and fighters in the anti-gadhafi opposition were celebrating the victory after they had managed to run those forces out of town. it was a large group of people and yet again one of these planes zoomed right over us, dropped a bomb just a stone's throw away. there were casualties, but we didn't stick around to look because
, how much they've accomplished. let's go to ben wedeman in the eastern part of libya and he saw a lot of fighting today. ben, what's the latest? >> reporter: well, what we saw today, eliot, was a massive barrage by gadhafi government, artillery and rockets onto the positions of the anti-gadhafi forces. right outside of ras lanuf, it went on for about an hour and a half, just shaking the ground, and one of the things they hit was the oil storage tanks in a facility just to the west of ras lanuf and it went up in just huge plume of black smoke and the fire spread causing flames to go towards the heavens. this is the first time that libya's oil infrastructure has been damaged in the fighting. what we're seeing is a far more assertive libyan government effort to push the rebels back. the rebels until just recently were actually making progress in gaining territory. now it appears that they're struggling to hold on to ras lanuf and the area around it. it appears the libyan government is fighting back in a way, not just in the eastern part of the country but also we see in the west, in town
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